I’ve always liked the idea of travelling on my own. I daydreamed of just up and leaving everything here and starting new overseas. These daydreams were my escape from life here, a way of distracting myself from everything that was making me unhappy. I never thought I could actually do it, so I was as surprised as my parents were when I jumped on the plane in July and studied at the University of North Carolina in America for six months. I can’t even begin to convey how incredible my experience was. I travelled all over America and I experienced what we typically see in the movies. So yes, the red cup parties, the frat/sorority life, the late night swing dancing through the fields, the deep fried food, the cliché flannel shirts and country accents, and of course the southern belles and gentlemen.

For me, this experience couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. I was so dragged down by all the drama that came with being a 21 year old woman living in the rowdy scarfie lifestyle that all I could focus on was getting up and out of here. I started to believe that this place held nothing for me anymore, only judgemental glares, awkward situations, unwanted memories and tough decisions. I blamed my attitude and moods on this physical location: I looked to travel as a way to reinvent myself. I wanted to meet new people, try new foods and create new memories. For me the only way I thought this would be possible would be to run the hell away from everything that was going on here. But I realized that as cliché as it may sound, you can never really outrun yourself. You always lose at that game and I had to take a moment to stop blaming my physical location for my unhappiness and acknowledge that so far I wasn’t quite happy over here either. What it came down to was for me to finally stop distracting myself and actually addressing these issues. I had to stop trying to patch everything up by focusing on one hobby, partying and drinking numerous times a week and putting all of my love into other people to try and compensate for the lack of love I had for myself. In order to be truly happy I had to take a time out, acknowledge everything that had happened and assess whether I was proud of my decisions and whether I liked who I was becoming.

Published by Erica

Erica is a 22 year old student studying a BCom/BA in Dunedin for her fifth and final year. She has a long love for Winnie the Pooh, Vinyl, Football, Cider, Poetry and Sherbet lollipops. She's a feminist, dances terribly to one direction, is new to vegetarianism, has total wanderlust and will always be a Tar Heel.

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  1. I cannot express the overall sincerity of this article. Life stresses, life hurts, and life escapes in the blink of an eye. You have truly inspired me to take a step back, smell the roses (and the deep fried everything), and look around. You’re wisdom has assured me that it is okay to be spontaneous and let life take me where I am meant to go.

  2. This is a phenomenal article filled with so much wisdom, and so much love. It is life experiences that allow us to be happy in this world. Thank you for sharing your story. Cheers to a life of happiness for you, Erica!

  3. This article was so incredibly inspiring and motivating. Your hope for a better life for both yourself and others is extremely beautiful, and your passion for people is very uplifting. Keep doing you, and I look forward to reading your future articles!